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UNC vs. Duke - Player of the Game: Michael Carter

The sophomore again led the way in a losing effort.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the closeness of the final score, there wasn’t a lot to smile about for UNC on Saturday. The teams traded scores for much of the first half, but as soon as Duke went into the break up seven, it seemed like Tar Heels had their work cut out for them even more than the score suggested.

Duke completely lit up the UNC defense to the tune of 629 total yards. The Tar Heels were particularly bad on third down, allowing the Blue Devils to go 13-20, which is actually better than the 10-12 they were earlier in the game.

The reason UNC was even able to keep as close as they were was because of the offense, specifically the ground game. Nearly half of those yards came courtesy of one man: Michael Carter.

Carter led the way for UNC’s offense, racking up 148 yards on 18 carries. He only scored one touchdown, but that was when the teams were trading scores early on and gave the Tar Heels a 14-7 lead.

He actually ended up being tied for the most targeted UNC receiver as well. Those weren’t nearly as effective as him taking handoff, but he still ended up with eight catches on the day. Carter and Dazz Newsome both had nine passes thrown their way in the game, but Carter made two more catches.

Just like his other really big game this season against Virginia Tech, this performance will not be fondly remembered. Unlike the VT game, this one can’t even really be put on him in any way. (It’s unfair, but he did fumble the ball to lead to Tech’s game-winning drive in that earlier game.)

Like a lot of others this season, Carter’s performance on Saturday was excellent in an otherwise frustrating loss.